Two Atlanta teens made history as the first black girl duo to win Harvard’s International Debating Competition against more than a hundred debaters from around the world. Jayla Jackson, age 16, and an up-and-coming junior at Holy Innocents Episcopal School; and 17-year-old Emani Stanton, a rising senior at North Atlanta High School, both represented the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Projcet. In an Instagram post, the organization shared the news with their followers.
“We’ve done it AGAIN! Our 4th consecutive championship win was brought to Atlanta by Jayla & Emani with an #UNDEFEATED record as they became the FIRST EVER black girl duo to win Harvard’s International Debating Competition against over a hundred debaters from around the world. They showed the world what is possible when the playing field is leveled!”
According to Black Enterprise, the two teens took top prize in the debate on “Solved: North Atlantic Treaty Organization should significantly increase its defense commitments in the Baltic States”.
“Here’s a glimpse of Emani & Jayla live and in action during a classroom debate about whether NCAA athletes should be paid.”
This is not the first time the organization has won the championship, the group has reportedly won the title for 4 consecutive years, leaving them undefeated. The Atlanta program recruits and trains black students for a summer debate residency at Harvard, qualifying them for elite school scholarships. In an interview with Fox 5, the organization’s debate coach and program founder Brandon Fleming said:
“I told them I wanted to build a bridge and give black students the opportunity to study at Harvard over the summer,”
The project is highly competitive, generating thousands of student applications every year, and only 25-30.
The new team leaders have reportedly already been chosen and will start training in August.